For some of West Forsyth’s eight football signees, recruiting was quick and mostly painless. For a number of Wolverines, though, the process dragged on long past the conclusion of their senior seasons.
West quarterback Hampton McConnell, for instance, committed to Georgia Southern in June and never thought twice about any other schools.
Kyndall Phillips, meanwhile, didn’t know where he would play college football until the eve of National Signing Day.
All’s well that ends well.
Phillips signed for Georgia State to play cornerback as a preferred walk-on. Long-snapper Travis Baugus will be a preferred walk-on at Georgia Southern. Two of McConnell’s personal protectors—offensive linemen Mich Toure (Coast Guard) and Carson Adams (Maryville College) signed letters of intent, as did tight end Ryan Miller (Guilford).
Defensive linemen Hunter Stewart (Tusculum) and Alec Coburn (Ellsworth Junior College in Iowa) rounded out West’s signing class.
Landen Bowman, a forward with West’s girls soccer team and a first team all-county selection last season, signed with the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Thursday.
“Coach Clack and coach Rooney just kept telling me to be patient,” Phillips said. “I had been in contact with [Kennesaw State, Cornell, Lehigh, Presbyterian] throughout the season and they were telling me the same thing, just be patient with us. They were waiting to see what happened with some of the other kids on their board, I guess.”
Indeed, Phillips remained patient before announcing his commitment to Georgia State over Twitter on Monday, just 42 hours before West’s Wednesday afternoon signing ceremony.
McConnell, the Forsyth County News’ first team all-county quarterback after accumulating nearly 2,200 yards of offense and 28 total touchdowns as a senior, knew as soon as he visited Georgia Southern last May that he wanted to play in Statesboro.
“I was going to visit [Middle Tennessee State and Appalachian State], but I went to Southern and there was no need to visit anywhere else,” McConnell said. “I’m happy that it’s all over. I’ve been committed for a while and never regretted that decision once.”
Southern’s current starting quarterback, Kevin Ellison, was recruited by the Eagles’ former coaching staff as a triple-option quarterback. Willie Fritz took over in Statesboro prior to the 2014 season and installed a spread offense (with roots still firmly based around the run game) and, while Ellison had a nice season (1096 rush yards, 12 touchdowns; 1,001 passing yards, five touchdowns), he’s not a major passing threat.
That’s where McConnell, who said he’ll visit Statesboro for spring practices, hopes he comes in early in his career. Southern offensive coordinator Doug Ruse told McConnell he’ll get plenty of chances to prove himself next to Ellison when August rolls around.
McConnell will be joined in Statesboro by Travis Baugus, another name on a growing list of long snappers from Forsyth County who have gone on to play college football.
Seven of West’s eight football signees will stay in the southeast. Defensive end Alec Coburn, a first team all-county selection, is the only one travelling far from home. Coburn singed for Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa.
“The process was really stressful, and now it’s like the monkey is off my back,” Phillips said. “[College football] is going to be like stepping up to the high school varsity from middle school, except magnified 10 times.”